This stands for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. This large study was conducted to study the effects of vitamin supplements in slowing the progression of macular degeneration.  The study showed that certain antioxidants were more helpful, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E and the metals zinc and copper (cupric acid). While these vitamins are found in a healthy diet, the high doses used in the AREDS trial were much higher than normal multivitamin tablets and are difficult to obtain through normal food intake. Therefore, additional oral pill supplements are recommended in anyone with signs of macular degeneration.  While vitamins are generally safe, there are a few caveats you should keep in mind. If you are a smoker, you should NOT take any supplements with Vitamin A (beta-carotene) as this has been associated with higher rates of lung cancer. You really shouldn’t be smoking, as smoking has been found to speed macular degeneration in its own right.  Also, there is some controversy over whether dietary zinc might slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer for men, but most authorities seem to think it safe. Both of these problems are being studied in the AREDS 2 Study.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


  1. I am personally not into homeopathic medicine and for most people, I feel that vitamins are a waste of time.

    However, there has been some pretty good statistical evidence that eye vitamins can help slow down the progression of macular degeneration.

    If you HAVE signs of pigmentary changes in your eyes, then the AREDS formulation is a good idea. If you DON’T have signs of early macular degeneration, than I don’t recommend these vitamins. The AREDS formulation is quite strong and who knows what excess vitamins may be associated with that hasn’t been discovered, yet.

    In other words, you treat the disease you have … not the disease you “might get” someday. Or goal here is to “do no harm.”


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